Welcome to Car Fight, the comparison test with no basis for comparison. In this edition, we join Editor-In-Chief Bertel Schmitt and Editor-at-Large Ed Niedermeyer in sunny Southern California, where they’re arguing over which sedan makes a better $35k-ish commuter chariot, the 2012 Hyundai Azera or the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid.
Niedermeyer: Well, Bertel… you asked for it. You were the one who thought your overpriced, buzzy little hybrid could take on my BuickBimBap on the uncompromising streets of L.A. You picked this Car Fight, and now you’re going to lose.
Let’s be clear: you’re pitting a midsized sedan with some overly-complex gubbins against a purpose-built, full-sized cruising machine. My V6 has nearly 100 horsepower on your hybrid. I could chauffeur three NFL linemen in comfort, you’d be hard-pressed to accommodate more than three cheerleaders. Oh, and did I mention that my car features the best application yet of Hyundai’s “fluidic sculpture” design language, while yours has… hybrid badges?
Sure, my Azera is a few grand more expensive, and no, it doesn’t get hybrid fuel economy, but this is no contest. Just admit that you wish you’d asked Toyota for an Avalon and lets be done with this.
Schmitt: Three NFL linemen? My ride has space for four Japanese cheerleaders. Actually, more, but I don’t want to be pulled over with a car full of lithe ladies. Lose weight, or lose money at the pump, as your kimchee-kruiser demonstrates. I drove my cheerleaders from L.A. to San Diego and back, and I still had half a tank. I bet they gave your car that “fluid” design because of how quickly fuel flows in that thing.
Have a look at this: With a bunch of cheerleaders in the car, and going down I5 with the A/C on full blast – those cheerleaders are hot – the mpg was a little shy of 40. Some hypermiler before me had 46.7 mpg. Probably driving alone. It’s lonely at the top.
And yours? No wonder they hide this god awful mileage deep in the instrument clutter of the Azera. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself, Ed? Do you hate polar bears?
And what’s that? An anatomically correct exhaust pipe? You car is sucking gas so quick it can’t even digest it properly. Give it up, Niedermeyer. I’ll buy my cheerleaders sushi while you head to the gas station. You will give up after you see the bill.
Schmitt (a week later:): Ed? Hello? Hello?
Schmitt (yet another week later:): Ed? Eeeeeeeeeeehed?
No answer. Ed must be speechless.
I am forced to finish this car fight single-handedly. It’s too bad, because there is one area where Ed could have gained points. And that is …
Measured using TTAC’s new (and for all reviewers mandatory) trunksizing metrics, the Hyundai Azera has trunkspace big enough for one overweight editor-in-chief plus three spooning cheerleaders, American. (Cheerleaders not in picture, they ran away.)
The Camry trunk on the other hand only has room for one skinny editor-at-large, end even that is a bit cramped. Azera 4, Camry 1. But then, if you need to lug around all that junk in the trunk, get a truck.
Finally, the coupe de grace: The talking navigation systems.
Sure, both struggled with Los Angeles and the chore of pronouncing “continue on South Sepulveda Blvfftbr… then make a right onto West Cen-tineeeeela Avbzzt.” The Camry however has a nice human voice that seems to have charming pronunciation problems. The Azera has a computer voice straight from Mars.
I felt great in mine. Prepared for a pokey hybrid, I was pleasantly surprised by the on-ramp prestige the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid delivers. After one week in the car, I had fallen in love with it, and I was sad to see it go.
The 2012 Hyundai Azera was supplied by Hyundai with a full tank of gas. It was delivered to the airport by a rather attractive attendant, dressed all black with pink accents.
Prudent Toyota handed over the keys to the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid on their parking lot. Adhering to Japanese customs, the car was returned with a full tank of gas. After one week, it cost Bertel $39.50